Modern Machine Shop

DEC 2017

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

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Page 83 of 140 December 2017 MMS 81 FEATURE shop stops there. However, the wiser shop con- siders how many different parts will be produced when the machine is running unattended. The part variety may require a toolchanger for 300 tools. Of course, the cost of the even larger tool- changer is substantially more, but the increased productivity and added process flexibility is likely to offset this higher cost. A shop that does not think far enough ahead may pull back from sticker shock and subsequently miss out on the full potential that a new HMC with a larger toolchanger would guarantee. When switching to HMCs, shops also struggle deciding whether to buy a four-axis or five-axis machine. Moving from a three-a xis VMC to a five-a xis HMC is a significantly broader jump than to a four-axis HMC. This is attributable to the major increase in engineering and program- ming capability required to machine in five axes. At this juncture, it becomes critical to make sure that a shop's workforce has the skills to match the capability of the chosen type of machine. If a shop doesn't have the engineers and program- mers (and those skilled people are hard to find right now), then it might be better to make the lesser jump to four-axis machining. OTHER CONNECTIONS? By the way, there are some other things going on in the sur vey that might be connected to this expected increase in spending on HMCs. For example, respondents indicated a decrease in spending on surface grinders. Although it can't be proven by the data, one explanation for the reduced demand for surface grinders might be related to the precision of HMCs. Reprocessing parts for production on an HMC might naturally include an effort to use this precision to eliminate a grinding step or reduce subsequent grinding operations. Another shift indicated is in the type of tooling shops are buying. Until 2012, our survey showed that carbide cutting tool inserts represented the highest portion of spending for tooling. From that year on, spending on inser ts has fallen, while spending on solid-body cutters and drills has increased. In fact, in this year's survey, solid-body cutters are expected to overtake inserts as the This graph shows spending in the last 10 years by metalworking product category. The 2018 projection for HMCs is 85 percent higher than the estimate for 2017. Spending on Major Machine Categories with Projected Increase in 2018 Billions of Real USD

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